May 1, 2021 | Opinion

Child Protection: First Step in Reconciliation


Every survivor of abuse or trauma responds, as they heal, in a unique way to the hard-won wisdom gained through recovery. Fundamentally, each one of us contributes, contrary to caricatures in media, richly to their family, friends, colleagues and ever-widening circle of interactions.

My personal commitment, beyond deeper and richer ties with family and friends, has evolved over time into facilitating parts of the dialogue of reconciliation between survivors and the Church or other communities who failed to protect them as children. The rewards for me and people I encounter are astounding—deepening my own faith, healing and peace.

Yet, none of this wonderment in the small circle of my life would be possible if the Catholic Church had not taken—and remained committed to—child protection efforts at the level it has. Anyone can read and see the impact. It surprises me how few Catholics have taken the time to do so—with so much at stake.

I am cautiously confident in the measures the Church has taken to ensure other children do not suffer my fate when in the care of the Church. If I were not, I would not have returned to the Church of my childhood. Doubtless I would still be a devoted Christian but return to the Church environment would have been psychologically and morally impossible.

Now, if only lay Catholics and people in society at large could move beyond caricatures of survivors as hopeless and priests as predators, we’d be making even better progress protecting children beyond the Church and at risk everywhere.

Teresa Pitt Green is an internationally renowned writer and speaker. As the adult survivor of child sexual abuse by a series of priests, she focuses her work on integrating faith into a full-person recovery from abuse and trauma. Founder and director of Spirit Fire with Luis A. Torres, Jr., she promotes Christian restorative justice where child sexual abuse and other trauma has wounded individuals, families, and groups in a faith setting. Learn more at

Article originally published at Reprinted with permission.

Rosary for healing and protection

May is the month of the rosary. You are invited to use these rosary reflections in the month of May to pray for all impacted by child abuse:


Reprinted in the May 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.


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